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Bush Administration Proposes Major New Funding to Reduce School Bus Emissions

Release Date: 01/30/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: Cynthia Bergman, 202 564-9828 / bergman.cynthia@epa.gov
Roy Seneca, 215-814-5567 / seneca.roy@epa.gov


(01/30/2004) - President Bush’s 2005 budget proposal will include an unprecedented $60 million in new funding to expand the Clean School Bus USA program, a national partnership to reduce the emission of air pollutants from school buses. The increase from $5 million to $65 million was announced today by EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt during a visit to a Pittsburgh-area elementary school that is equipping its school bus fleet with state-of-the-art emissions control devices.

“This funding demonstrates the President’s commitment to protecting children’s health and cleaning America’s air,” Administrator Leavitt said. “It’s a big increase because, as we see here, this program works. As a result of this new funding, EPA can expand this program from just 17 districts in 2004 to nearly 220 school districts all across the country.”

EPA initially launched the program in April, 2003, with the goal of upgrading the nation’s entire school bus fleet to low emission buses by 2010. Clean School Bus USA will help ensure that school buses – which are the safest way for kids to get to school – also are the cleanest possible transportation for this generation of school children.

The expanded program will provide grants to governmental entities to replace pre-1991 school buses with new clean school buses offering state-of-the-art emission control and safety features and to retrofit post-1990 school buses with similar advanced emission controls. A total of $65 million will be provided for the program in 2005, a thirteen-fold increase over 2004 funding levels.

At the McKnight Elementary School in McCandless Township, Pennsylvania, Administrator Leavitt demonstrated to students how a diesel-oxidation catalyst works to reduce air pollution from school buses. McKnight is part of the North Allegheny School District, which received a $125,000 grant from EPA in October to retrofit its fleet of 100 school buses with emissions-controlling catalysts. Diesel-oxidation catalysts use a chemical process to break down pollutants in the exhaust stream and transform them into less harmful components. These catalysts can reduce particulate matter by at least 20 percent, carbon monoxide by 40 percent and hydrocarbons by 50 percent.

The Clean School Bus Program brings together school districts and administrators, their bus-fleet operators, health advocates, fuel providers, bus manufacturers and emissions-technology innovators to craft a collaborative, cost-effective program to protect the health of school children and the public.

EPA is working aggressively to reduce pollution from new diesel engines by requiring them to meet progressively tougher emission standards. Diesel vehicles are very durable, and school buses can remain in service for 20 to 30 years. Consequently, many school buses on the road today were manufactured before the stringent emission standards of recent years took effect.

For more information, go to: Clean School Bus USA, go to: http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/ ;
Region 3 (includes Penn.) Clean School Bus Program, go to: http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/vehicletran/vehicles/schoolbus.htm .